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Smith, Marshall bitten by injuries

by Michelle Crechiolo / Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT – Although general manager Ken Holland has been pleased with the competitive nature of the Red Wings’ development camp, there is one aspect that has disappointed him: injuries.

“Obviously you’d like to see everybody leave here healthy,” Holland said.

Holland confirmed that the Wings’ 2007 first-round draft pick Brendan Smith has been diagnosed with a partially separated shoulder. The former University of Wisconsin standout suffered the injury from clean hit along the boards by St. Cloud State forward Nick Oslund on Sunday at City Arena.

Holland also said that defenseman Ben Marshall, the Wings’ seventh-round draft pick last month, suffered an apparent broken wrist. The Minnesota native was injured while making a neutral zone pass along the boards in the first period of Monday morning’s scrimmage at City Arena.

Smith didn’t not participate in Monday’s on-ice activities.

“It is disappointing,” Holland said, “but it is a little bit of the nature of our sport.”

This year’s first-round draft pick Riley Sheahan agreed, saying, “It’s hockey, and hockey’s a physical sport. If the guys didn’t want to get injured, or they didn’t want to pay the price, then they shouldn’t be out there. ... It’s good to see everyone’s going their hardest out here and no one’s backing down.”

He says the players are trying to prove to the Wings’ staff why they deserve to be there.

“Everyone’s trying to prove their point, and trying to get a spot on the roster in the next few years,” he said. “So they have to prove to the coaches that they can play at this level, and if that means playing your role and going out and hitting guys and finishing your checks, then that’s what you’ve got to do.”

Holland does like the intensity he’s seen from the players on the ice, all of whom he’s pretty happy with. But above all, Holland hopes the prospects leave with an understanding of what the Wings expect from them off the ice.

“This week is really for education,” Holland said. “It’s for them to understand the importance of strength and conditioning, to see where they’re at with a lot of their peers.

“You only can do so much in a week. You’re not going to improve anybody in a week. It’s about them leaving here and knowing what they’ve got to do when they go home for the next two months.”

The prospects are initially chosen because they have the potential to become NHL-caliber players. But Holland says this camp is meant to show them exactly where they stand in relation to their peers, and how they can blend their their on- and off-ice skills together to eventually crack an NHL roster.

“That’s what this camp is about,” Holland said. “To show them that on one hand, there is potential, but that potential’s only going to be realized by commitment year-round to making yourself as good as you can be. So we’ve liked our skill, but in a lot of cases, strength—they’ve just got a long ways to go with their strength.

“When you leave college or juniors, and you go to the pros, I think the biggest difference is the strength of the athlete. You need to impress upon them the importance of hitting the gym. It’s a lifestyle. That’s what the pros do, they’re in the gym every day. That’s how they make their living.”

Although Smith says this summer’s camp has been a little more competitive on the ice than previous years, the off-ice workouts are still the biggest thing he’ll take away from this week.

Holland believes that will help Smith and other prospects, who will be back at training camp in September.

“Those who don’t want to take advantage of the information, they’ll probably fall by the wayside as time marches on,” Holland said. “We start the evaluation process more in September when we have our prospect tournament. This is more so that they see where their game is at and where they need to improve.”

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SMITH LEAVES EARLY: Smith decided to head home a day early after it became clear he wouldn’t be skating for the rest of camp.

“It’s kind of upsetting that I have to leave a day early,” he said. “I mean, they asked me if I wanted to leave or if I wanted to say, and I said it didn’t matter. They said it’s your choice, so I’m going to go home, spend some time with the family.”

This summer marks Smith’s fourth camp, but it’s the first time he’s gone home injured.

“The three camps I’ve been here, I’ve been fine,” he said. “I’ve never hurt my shoulder before, so it’s a little bit different.”

There’s no hard feelings between him and Oslund, who apologized to him afterward despite delivering a clean check.

“We kind of just joked around about it, because it didn’t seem like it was anything that would have injured either of us,” Smith said. “He apologized, but it’s not even that big of a deal because it wasn’t like it was a blatant hit from behind or anything brutal like that. So we were just joking about it.”

Holland said Smith will be fine come September.

“(His injury) is basically take it easy for a couple of weeks then slowly get back in to it,” Holland said. “He can go back, he can work hard on his lower body, and hopefully by August 1st or early August he can get back to his upper body, so he’ll be ready to go at training camp.”

Team Zetterberg topped Team Lidstrom 4-3 in Monday’s scrimmage.

The 34 prospects, who have been divided into two teams with separate schedules since the start of camp, weren’t supposed to face-off until Tuesday. But the power outage at Joe Louis Arena forced a rearrangement of the camp’s agenda.

Landon Ferraro and Calle Jarnkrok were among the scorers for Team Zetterberg, who wore white. Petr Mrazek, the Wings’ 2010 fifth-round draft pick, got the win in goal along with free-agent invitee Bryan Mountain.

The teams played three 15-minute periods with a running clock. They will start Tuesday, the final day of camp, with a skills competition followed by a scrimmage.
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